Erik ten Hag assumed responsibility for Manchester United’s 3-0 defeat against AFC Bournemouth but did not hold back in criticizing his struggling players.
The Dutch manager has witnessed the club’s poorest start to the season in decades, and this outcome represents a new nadir. Goals from Dominic Solanke, Philip Billing, and Marcos Senesi secured Bournemouth’s historic victory at Old Trafford, extending their impressive recent form at the expense of United.
- Michael Owen names the best goalkeeper in the world
- Bruno Fernandes accused of getting booked on purpose to miss Liverpool game
- Ferdinand names Arsenal player Man Utd should have signed this summer
Despite a momentary reprieve earlier in the week with a win over Chelsea, Ten Hag finds himself under renewed pressure as fans expressed their discontent by booing the players as they left the field.
In the aftermath of the match, Ten Hag was forthright in his assessment, acknowledging that Manchester United is simply “not good enough” to maintain consistency, especially after succumbing to Andoni Iraola’s ascendant team.
“I think he knows that next week could be a bad day out for them,” said Keys in his role as a pundit on beIN Sports. “I think if we’re all agreed that he knew if we he got booked he would miss the game, then I can’t think of any other scenario whereby I could allow him the room to manoeuvre on that.
“Say: ‘Well, it was a heated moment’. It wasn’t, I think he knew he gets booked and I think he knows he misses the game and I think that for me sums him up. He’s not a captain, he’s not a leader. His position has been questioned by proper Manchester United captains, people like Roy Keane, all season.”
Fellow pundit Andy Gray was sceptical that Fernandes might have deliberately got himself a yellow card, saying: “His memory of Anfield last season is not very good. He had a dreadful time at Anfield last season, dreadful time.
“If you ask me, did the captain of Manchester United, knowingly, with seven minutes left, get himself booked so he’d be unavailable for his team and his fans at Anfield next week? I hope not, I hope not. I would be horrified if a footballer did that.”
The Red Devils will face the upcoming weekend’s visit to Liverpool without their captain, who will be absent after their defeat to Bournemouth. Liverpool, currently leading the Premier League table after a victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday, poses a challenging opponent.
It is uncertain whether Manchester United can secure their first win at Anfield since 2016, and the absence of Fernandes is expected to make their task even more difficult than usual.
Another pundit, Michael Owen, also raised questions about whether Fernandes needed to intentionally receive a booking in the final stages of the match against Bournemouth, telling Premier League Productions: “I wonder how many yellow cards he’s had for dissent and waving his arms about.
“Possibly you don’t fancy going to Anfield. I wouldn’t at the moment. I’m not sure you’re thinking of the next game when you’re in the thick of playing. He should be responsible, he should be a good ambassador, a leader for the team.
“We all know referees are clamping down on that and he gets booked an awful lot for a player who hardly puts his foot in and tackles really he gets booked an awful lot.”